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Human Rights Office

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Hamilton-Wentworth School Board (HWDSB) is committed to fostering and maintaining inclusive learning and working environments, free from discrimination and harassment.

The Human Rights Office exists to promote and protect the human rights of students, families and staff and all other stakeholders in the HWDSB community, by:

  • Building and maintaining a culture of respect for human rights:
    This includes supporting the board in identifying and addressing systemic barriers, inequitable and discriminatory practices to ensure that human rights are protected at all levels in compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Building capacity in understanding and applying human rights at all levels:
    This includes creating awareness and educating the HWDSB community about human rights, roles and responsibilities, as well as understanding related policies and procedures.
  • Helping to resolve human rights complaints:
    This includes overseeing the internal procedure for human rights complaints. In 2021-22, HWDSB will develop a new human rights pillar policy with related procedures to inform the process.

Please also see our Equity Action Plan.

Meet the Staff

  • Yohana Otite, Human Rights and Equity Officer
  • Mouna Bile, Human Rights Early Resolution Supervisor
  • Contact Us: humanrights@hwdsb.on.ca

The HWDSB Board of Trustees approved the development of a pillar Human Rights Policy to help everyone understand their human rights, roles and responsibilities in HWDSB learning and working spaces, which include: schools, workspaces, school and work events, and virtual spaces that are extensions of the learning and working environment.

The Human Rights Policy will serve as an anchor to related policies and further HWDSB’s commitment to foster and maintain a culture of respect for human rights that permeates all HWDSB learning and work environments, so that:

  • Everyone is treated with dignity and respect
  • Everyone is supported and accepted
  • Everyone is free from discrimination and harassment
  • HWDSB learning and work spaces are welcoming, respectful, accessible and free from systemic discrimination, harassment and different forms of oppression.

An overarching HWDSB Human Rights Policy and associated procedures will support all members of the HWDSB community in understanding their human rights, their roles and responsibilities. It will also establish a clear, fair, consistent and effective process to receive and resolve complaints of code-based discrimination and harassment.

The Human Rights Policy development process will start in the fall of 2021 with two phases of consultation – before and after the development of a draft policy – and will involve students, staff, families and community partners. The plan will be posted here.

Related policies:

All students have the right to learn in an environment where they feel safe, supported and accepted, free from discrimination and harassment.

What can you do if you are experiencing discrimination and harassment in school?

If you are experiencing human rights related discrimination or harassment, you can get assistance by telling a trusted adult in your school (a teacher, principal, vice-principal or someone you identify as a caring adult) or at the Board (the superintendent and/or Human Rights Office). School principals have the responsibility to respond to issues and resolve them in a timely manner. If you feel the situation is not resolved through an informal process, you can bring the concern and/or file a complaint through your school superintendent and/or the Human Rights Office by completing the Human Rights Complaint Intake Form or by emailing humanrights@hwdsb.on.ca

Addressing a Human Rights Concern Flow Chart

Complete the Intake Form here.

All staff have the right to work in an environment where they feel safe, supported and accepted, free from discrimination and harassment.

What can you do if you are experiencing discrimination and harassment at Work?

Workplace harassment and discrimination are addressed through the Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Policy/Procedure 4.9. To address workplace discrimination and harassment issues, you can consult with the Human Resources Services Labour Relations Department. If applicable, also consult your union office. If your concern or issue is based on one or more grounds of the human rights code, you can contact the Human Rights Office by email at humanrights@hwdsb.on.ca or by completing the Human Rights Complaint Intake Form

Addressing an Employment Concern at HWDSB – For Staff

Updated on Friday, August 27, 2021.
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